Welcome to guest writer, Alice Wood, who explains how creating a positive, memorable impression gives value to your business and sells you, as well as your products.
What’s the difference between an iPhone and a Golden Delicious? The answer is branding. One is a ‘should have’ product and the other is a ‘must have’ product!
When you run your own business, you are the brand. This is the DNA of your company. It’s the tone of voice, presentation and ultimately, the reputation of you, your products and services.
So how do you become a ‘must have’ product? And how can you use the power of your personal brand to achieve this?
Here are just three things to start you off.
1. Who are you?
Your personal brand starts with the core values of your business. You need to be honest with yourself here. These core values need to be a true representation of who you are and how you want to conduct business. If your brand is created with integrity and honesty, it adds real value to your business and makes whatever you’re selling so much more appealing.
For instance, let’s say you decide to set up a business selling shoes, because you think there is a market for it. If you have no passion for shoes, you might as well be selling nails!
Your passion for the business is the driver that will lead you to discover all sorts of benefits and innovative ways to sell your products and services. Your passion will drive you on to learn more about your business and become an expert in your field.
Listen to an enthusiastic, passionate businessperson talking about their product. They sell themselves and their business without really selling. We’re drawn in by their knowledge, expertise and sheer love of the business they’re talking about. Before you know it, you’ve bought whatever they’re selling. And you feel good about it!
2. People Buy People
Which leads me on to that thorny subject called selling. I say thorny, because so many people regard it as a necessary evil. Let me say from the start, I love selling. Unfortunately, I do recognise that a lot of people have a poor perception of this vital business skill. They may not realise it, but what they’re really saying is they dislike bad salespeople. And so do I.
How you sell is part of your Personal Brand. You can create the most wonderful experience for your customers just by selling to them in a way that suits them.
Selling is not a ‘one size fits all’ skill. There is a big difference between the type of salesmanship that builds a relationship, sells your product and creates customer loyalty, as opposed to the quick turnover. This is not about simply acquiring technique. We’ve all experienced sales people who stick to a learned technique and script. You might end up buying from them, but I bet, you won’t do it again.
Selling is a vital part of your Personal Brand, but I believe it should also be about offering service. Think about when and how your customers would prefer to hear from you. Even in this age of technology, the importance of human contact is important – in fact, I think it’s becoming more so.
With a little bit of creative thought and business consideration, you can discover lots of fantastic ways to sell to your customers via experiences and information sharing.
I love being sold to by a great sales person. But nothing beats the great feeling you get from making a successful sale yourself.
For example, I run a fashion business alongside my Personal Branding company (I have to get my fashion fix somehow!). The experience I offer to my customers is totally different to their experience on the high street. By using my own shopping knowledge and discovering the needs of my customers, I’ve been able to tailor my fashion business to meet their requirements. They shop when it suits them – which actually means it suits me too.
3. Your Back Story
Which leads me on to a third part of Personal Branding -the Back Story. To be specific, your story. If you are running your own business, almost nothing is more interesting or motivating than to hear how someone else runs their company or how he or she made it a success or learnt from a mistake.
Their ‘back story’ illuminates who they are and adds definition, colour and depth to their business. It also develops trust. And we all know we buy from people we know, like and trust.
I worked with an interior designer in one of my Personal Branding workshops, who was struggling to create a distinctive brand amongst many other companies offering the same service in her area. The key was in her background and life story. She had a wealth of experiences and passions that she used when developing ideas for clients. The problem was she wasn’t sharing this with anybody else.
By illuminating these unique aspects of her personality and creative skills, she began to attract clients who shared her style of working and inspirations. This elevated her personal brand and business and set her apart from other designers. She also found the courage to stop trying to be all things to all people.
In short, we turned her into an iPhone. Everyone should have an apple, but millions of us must have an Apple!
Alice Wood, Managing Director, Inspiring Women UK